Absurdity of Life

Scientists draw conclusions from evidence and facts, a posteriori, while religious teachers rely on faith and imagination, a priori.  Both believe they know the truth about life, but it is more likely than not that neither of them know the truth.  The truth is only known by the Creator, and He is not talking.  Thus, life is absurd because we cannot make sense of it.

Why do we live?  Why do we have free will?  Why do we have a conscience?  Why do we make choices if there are no consequences?  What happens after we die?

After admitting that life is absurd and still puzzling over it, we must logically conclude that life is quite absurd without something after life.  In other words if life were our only appearance in this play, then the play would have no denouement or ending.  This is because if life is to have any meaning at all, then all the choices made during our lives must be analyzed for a full accounting at the end.  Life, which is a test, is nonsensical without death and a grading of our work.  Of course, consequences complete the course.  This completes a design for life in our universe.

And life is absurd for all of us, whether atheists or Christians or agnostics.  We all are tested daily and we all fall short of making good grades.  Christians believe that they are making A’s and B’s, while atheists and agnostics are failing.  The truth is that all of us are failing.  However, the significant advantage for the Christians is that they may lead a better life by following the teachings of Christ.  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees for anybody.  The consequences for our poor choices during life may be dreadful, disastrous for all of us.

I have seen Christians acting as bad or worse than atheists.  There will be no religious shield to protect those who have made bad choices during life.  We must accept our failings and step up to take our punishment, whatever that might be.  By accepting Jesus as our savior, we are in a better position to make good decisions.  But if you read the Bible closely, you will find that there will be consequences for our sins.

I have seen Christians repent of their sins on Sunday and then return to the den of iniquity for the next six days.  Then they return to church on the Sabbath to repent again.  This type of activity shows no true remorse.  It is merely a hope that God will overlook all the misdeeds and erase them because of one hour on Sunday.  This doesn’t even make sense.  It is another absurd myth of Christianity.

So, if there are going to be severe consequences for all of us, what can we do?  Even as a Christian existentialist, I honestly don’t know.  I suppose we can start by doing our best every day that we have left to do the right thing.  Each of us should try to be a better person.  I don’t believe that our judgment day will have a scale with good deeds on one side and bad choices on the other.  I think it will be much more sophisticated and complex than that.

My imagination tells me that we will probably enter a darkness that eliminates our senses.  Our own minds will probably punish us for all the bad decisions we made during life.  The denial of entry into God’s third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2) may be the worst penalty of all.  My guess is that those of us who have made a half-way decent attempt to make good decision will enter the first heaven.  But the subsequent heavens will be exponentially more difficult to reach.

And even though my musings may seem quite absurd, believe me it is much more absurd that we could live in a world of choices without any consequences.

 

 

Rationalization

When I started out as a young attorney in private practice, I handled divorce and criminal cases.  The thing that I noticed early on was that nobody accepted any blame.  They would rationalize everything that they did and remember the facts in a way that made them look better than it should have.

I represented both males and females and the results were always the same.  They either lied or manufactured a story that omitted incriminating details.  This didn’t happen every now and then.  It happened all the time.  It got to a point where I told my clients that I didn’t believe them and they had to tell me the entire truth or they would have to find another attorney to represent them.

I remember one teenager told me that he had placed the drugstore items in his pocket and just simply forgot to pay for them.  I looked him straight in the eye and asked him if he really thought I believed that story.  He laughed and said “I guess not.”  I got him to plead out and the judge let him off with community service.

A crusty judge in the community where I worked issued a ruling that made both the plaintiff and defendant’s attorneys unhappy.  He called the attorneys down front and announced to them that the he knew he had made the right decision because both parties didn’t like it.  The judge believed that both attorneys were representing only half truths, so the best decision is one that nobody likes.

So, I just resigned myself to knowing that nobody was going to tell the truth and that way I was overjoyed when I ran into somebody who actually told the truth.  This might have happened twice, but I am not absolutely certain of that.  But my point is that truth is a very rare commodity in our society.  Our society does not offer much in the way of consequences for lying, so why would people tell the truth?  The rewards are much richer for those who lie or stretch the truth.

Thus, this tendency to prevaricate made me wonder if this were nature or nurture.  In other words, is this a practice that is found in our genetics or is it something we learn?  I tend to believe that we are born with a conscience and free will.  Neither of these two gifts should lead us to lying our way through life.  In fact, our conscience should act as our moral compass and take us down a path of telling the truth.  So, it must be our experiences that teach us that there are few consequences for lying.  We learn that we can lie and then rationalize what we did, salving our conscience.  After many years of lying, our conscience probably becomes immune to the constant lies.

Lying becomes a lifestyle for most since it can lead to lifetime rewards without any distracting consequences.  But I believe that the numbing of our conscience is a serious consequence.  I also believe that the real consequences occur after we die.  Even though I don’t know for certain what happens in the afterlife, there must be consequences of some kind.  Otherwise, life makes no sense.  Why would we have free will and make decisions if there were no consequences?

Life would be quite absurd if we were never held accountable for our actions.  Choices and consequences are intertwined.  You cannot have one without the other.  The fact that there are no consequences during life, simply proves that there is an afterlife with consequences awaiting.  Unfortunately for most of us, that is the truth.

What’s Really Important?

We tend to focus on all the wrong things during our lifetimes.  We think a lot about ourselves and how to make our lives better.  We are very selfish, but we have occasional love interests that interrupt our fascination with ourselves.  But typically we discover that the love interest primarily existed to satisfy our personal sexual needs.

I stopped having sex when I was 47 years old.  I will be 70 in a few months.  It wasn’t based on any religious epiphany or desire to prove myself worthy of anything.  It was a simple decision not to have sex anymore.  I decided that sex was not important, so I stopped cold turkey.  I am fascinated with all the emphasis on types of sex available today.  Society may claim that it has significant freedom to have sex with anybody or anyway desired, but I would argue that society is enslaved by this sexual free-for-all.  It is an addiction no different than alcohol or drugs.  I’m not campaigning for everybody to follow my lead and become abstinent;  however, I feel extremely comfortable with my decision.  You must make your own decision using your free will and conscience.  A moderate sex life may be a great choice for you.  It just wasn’t my choice.

I guess what I am saying is that having sex is just not that important and deciding to not have sex is really not important either.  So, what is important?  The critical thing is that you must maintain your freedom to make decisions.  You must accept the consequences for all your bad choices.  That is very important.  And you must make the decisions… not your family or peers, but you.  You must decide what is important during your life and how this may impact what happens after you die.

I believe that life is really not important, but the afterlife is the most important thing.  So, I believe how we live our lives, which probably contributes greatly to our afterlife, is very important.  And it is the things that I do during the rest of my life that should be more important than the things that I did or didn’t do earlier in life.  Thus, it is not my past twenty plus years of abstinence, but it is my future acts of kindness to others without seeking or expecting something in return.

The best gauge for judging your future acts is to examine your motives.  Would you have done these acts if nobody knew that you did them?  It is like the judge who asked the accused:  “Would you have returned the money if everybody still thought you took it and nobody would ever have known you returned it?”  Unfortunately, most people would have to honestly say they would not.  However, your actions should not feed your ego, but should instead, build your identification of who you are.  And you should be like Jesus.  Of course, this is an impossible task, but you should strive to come as close to the mark as humanly possible.

Negligence is failing to do that which a reasonable man would have done or would have avoided under the same or similar circumstances.  We can substitute sin for negligence and find that 100% of us, including me, have committed hundreds, perhaps thousands of sins.  With this heavy weight on us for bad acts committed during our lives, how can we ever get past that to what is really important?  Well, you have to start with the fact that you are going to start today asking what Jesus would have done and then attempting to modify your behaviors so that you will become a better person.  This is what is really important in life and also in the afterlife.

So, what do you think is really important?  Is it prestige, power, intelligence, money, sex-drugs-rock’nroll, possessions?  Most likely these items do not follow you into the afterlife.  I honestly don’t know what awaits us at death’s door, but I would rather have my good acts to carry with me.  That may be what is most important.

Christian Existentialism

Existentialism generally is a philosophy associated with atheism.  The majority of existentialists are atheists because the basic tenets of their belief do not comport with a God who is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and in charge of everything.

How can a stellar existentialist, who is steadfast in his independence, tolerate a controlling God?  How can an existentialist believe that he is making choices if everything is predestined by God?  How can a good existentialist believe that life is absurd and without meaning if there is a God?

Well, these are excellent questions, but there are logical answers for Christian existentialists like Soren Kierkegaard: (1) God gives us free choice and does not interfere with our decisions; (2) God created our universe outside our universe, since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our closed universe;  in other words, God created, but does not control our universe; (3) nothing is predetermined in our lives since we make choices and suffer the consequences;  (4) and life is absurd without God.

So, it is possible to be a Christian existentialist.  You will not have many friends or associates who agree with you, but you can always unite and communicate with the most important entity, God.  Becoming one with God should be your primary goal in life.

The first step in being a true Christian existentialist is to reject other Christians who are not authentic.  Unfortunately, this is a high percentage of modern Christians.  Most Christians go to church for social approval and cannot discuss theology or even basic concepts supporting what they really believe.  In fact, most of them don’t believe in anything other than making appearances and looking good in the community.  Their beliefs and faith in God are only skin deep.

How do you become an authentic Christian existentialist?  Well, it will be a bit controversial, but you need to reject family, peer, and social pressures to think and act a certain way.  Then you can start meditating or focusing on what you really believe.  Let God into your heart and make Him a part of this process.  Become one with God.  Seek harmony with your freedom to make choices and be prepared to accept the consequences from poor decisions.  If God is within you, you will find peace in this process.

God will remove the anxiety and existential angst in your decision making because He will lead you.  Even though you cannot see God and even though He is not inside our visible universe, He can enter your soul as the Holy Spirit and become unified with you.  Your conscience and awareness is heightened with Him inside you.  Your choices may not be perfect, but your attempts to improve your decisions with humility will be all that matters if you fully accept responsibility as one who is imperfect.

And remember: life truly is absurd and makes no sense without God.

How Much Do We Know?

With all the improvements in science and scientific research and space exploration, how much do we know… perhaps 10% of what is in our universe?  With the large telescopes on earth and in space, how much do we see… perhaps another 10% of our universe?

Actually, we know less than 1% of what is in our universe and probably much less than 1%.  The visible universe is less than 4% of what is included in the universe and probably much less than 4%, especially if the universe is an ellipse and we can only view it to its horizon.  And even if the visible universe is 4%, we know just a fraction of what is in that visible universe.

So, how much do we know?  Not much at all.  We don’t know much about dark matter and don’t know anything about dark energy.  In fact, we can say with certainty:  we are pretty much in the dark.

We don’t even know that much about what is right in front of us.  The invisible quantum world is right next to us, but we have only scratched its surface.  There are unexplored deep oceans.  There still are many mysteries deep inside the earth’s core.

We, humans, think very highly of ourselves, but actually we are a miserable lot.  We can’t take care of our environment.  We are responsible for a current mass extinction that may end up being worse than the Permian extinction.  Our emotions make us more violent and unpredictable than any other animals.

We don’t even know much about ourselves and why we exist.  Why do we think about our existence?  If we didn’t have that nagging awareness, we could be like all the other animals, living through basic instincts without emotional interplay.  But our consciousness and consciences make us different from other animals… and not necessarily different better.  We murder based on hate, greed, sex, desire, jealousy, and anger.  No other animals do that.  We want gold, silver, diamonds, and currency.  Other animals don’t care about these things.  We want luxury automobiles and huge homes with the best furniture.  Other animals could care less.

So, why are we different and what is our purpose?  Well, logically there must be a reason for us to have free will and make choices based on our unique consciousness and consciences.  And the only reason that makes sense is that we are being tested.  Why else would we be able to make choices?  Life with free will would be quite absurd without consequences for our choices.  Existentialism rules our world.

Homo sapiens could have been like any other animal with no awareness or conscience, but we were given free will that no other animals have.  Why?  It has to be because something or somebody will examine these decisions that we have made.  And, of course, there will be consequences.  You cannot judge an animal that acts based on inherent instincts, but you can provide punishment for bad choices made by Homo sapiens.

So, how much do we know about a future judgment?  My guess is that we know less than 1% and probably substantially less than 1%.